Dieting for Dogs

dog on a scaleGadget is on a diet. I finally had to cave to reality and talk to her Vet about her weight. Since she is going on 9, I want to make sure she's at a healthy weight during her senior years so that additional stress isn't put on her joints or organs. And as her Vet put it, "Overweight dogs simply don't live as long."

So, when I brought Gadget for her annual exam a few weeks ago I asked Dr. Lemelin (at the New England Animal Hospital in Fairhaven, MA) what Gadget's ideal weight should be. Since Gadget is a mutt, her build is unique and weight is not as easily determined.

At that appointment, Gadget weighed in at 20.2 pounds, which I admit, surprised me. Dr. Lemelin said that he would like to see Gadget lose 1 pound by 4-6 weeks, which for a dog so small in size, is actually a lot. Gadget did have that fatty mass removed when her hernia was repaired, but Dr. Lemelin and I decided it would be ideal for Gadget to weigh about 17 pounds after her operation.

So the diet began. According to Dr. Lemelin's instructions, I have been feeding Gadget 20% less at both her morning and evening meals. I still feed her the same food, but I've reduced the serving by 20%. I also reduced her insulin levels accordingly, since insulin is related to food.

And, I seriously cut back on all the little "extra" things she had been getting -- like Milk Bones every time she went outside. The Vet also stressed that I should treat Gadgetcartoon about dog and cat dieting as a "normal dog" (meaning a non-diabetic dog) in terms of exercise and allow her to play for as long as she likes. I'd always been concerned that if Gadget played for too long, her blood sugar would drop too low and she'd experience hypoglycemia.

After two and a half weeks, Gadget weighed in at 19.4 pounds! I'm very happy with the results that these little changes made (though Gadget might not be) and I can't wait for Gadget to be at a nice, healthy 17 pounds!

I'll continue to update on her progress.